American lawmakers have unequivocally condemned a recent incident of attempted arson at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, labeling it a “criminal act”. The attack, carried out by Khalistan supporters, as displayed in a video posted on Twitter, has been vehemently criticized, with calls for swift justice against those responsible.
Congressmen Ro Khanna and Michael Waltz, co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, issued a joint statement denouncing the vandalism and incendiary attempts. They also expressed their disapproval of the incendiary rhetoric directed at India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
The alleged arson attempt occurred a few days after Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canada-based Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) chief and one of India’s most-wanted terrorists, was killed outside a gurdwara in Canada.
The congressmen’s call for action was joined by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, who also emphasized the unacceptable nature of the attack on the Indian consulate. Congressman Rich McCormick, in a tweet, further underscored the American solidarity with their allies and the Indian-American community, deeming the attack as vile and intolerable.
The safety and security of diplomats living in the United States is a matter of grave concern, as conveyed by a spokesperson of the National Security Council of the White House. Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the hate-filled rhetoric puts diplomats in harm’s way, thereby posing a serious risk to democracy.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first instance where the Indian Consulate in San Francisco has faced such an attack. Pro-Khalistan protesters had previously damaged the consulate in March, breaking through makeshift security barriers and raising pro-Khalistan slogans.
The South Asian Minorities Collective, in a tweet, highlighted that the Khalistan movement, known for its alleged connections with the Pakistani intelligence service, has been trying to revive itself in recent years in the US, UK, and Canada.
In the wake of these disturbing incidents, Sikh leader Jasdeep Singh appealed for the perpetrators to face the full force of the law, emphasizing that such criminal activities have no place in a democracy. He also expressed his disappointment with the Khalistani movement being linked to these incidents, suggesting it casts a negative light on the Sikh community. Singh further called on the Biden administration to ensure the safety and protection of all foreign consulates and diplomats in the US, especially those from India.
As the investigations into the attack continue, the overarching sentiment among lawmakers and the public is clear: such acts of violence against diplomatic facilities and personnel are indefensible and must be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Despite the right to free speech and freedom of expression being fundamental in America, these rights should never be used as a pretext for violence, vandalism, or endangering lives.